This topic has been on my mind for a while. Though I’m not equipped to write an elaborate scientific report on it, I still feel compelled to share this information along with a little personal story.
My baby had two rounds of upper respiratory infections this last month. Both times he developed superimposed ear infections and was prescribed antibiotics. I won’t go into the details about how difficult it was to measure his temperature or give him medications. It was. Especially the second time since the antibiotic was augmentin, notoriously nasty tasting and harsh on the tummy. These so called broad spectrum antibiotics were bulldozing his system, indiscriminately killing the good, the bad and the ugly.
I noticed a wonderful side effect (or so I thought). My son’s poop didn’t smell bad. In fact it didn’t smell at all! I didn’t have to change his diaper pail so often. There were some diaper accident curtesy of the diarrhea, a not so welcome side effect, but the mess didn’t stink!
Soon I realized this blessed side effect was actually a cruse. I missed the stinky poop! The stink always prompts me to change his diaper right away, much like pain and burning of the hand prompts me to not touch fire. This lack of stink, made the diarrhea often go unnoticed so on top of the respiratory infection, ear infection and having to give him nasty tasting antibiotics and breathing treatments, he developed a painful diaper rash. He is so tiny and delicate and it was heartbreaking to see him suffer especially since I was causing him a lot of this suffering.
Now with the antibiotics finished and a course of probiotics to restore his gut bacteria, the stink is back and that is a good thing.
We have antibiotics and can treat infections, most infections, or at least some infections. But soon, very soon, that reality will change. We will no longer be able to treat common infections and succumb to common infections such as ear infections, pneumonia and urinary tract infections.
Here is an eye opening report by PBS Newshour discussing World Health Organization report on post antibiotic era.
Of course that is not the only impact our over use of antibiotics and sanitizers have had on our health. Our bodies have had centuries to work a delicate and balanced system with other organisms that are not only beneficial but crucial to our health and well being. From gastrointestinal functions, to immunology, allergy, mental health and development, our bodies rely on these microscopic friends to function and thrive. Watch this short 6 min clip of the Daily Show with Dr. Martin Blaser discussing his new book Missing Microbes.
I am convinced I must change my ways. We must all change our ways, for us, for our kids and for the future of humanity.